We may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but digital marketing marches on and we still need to cover the latest headlines in our news roundup segment. The latest features host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann along with special guest Aaron Levy, Group Director of SEM at Tinuity. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 348 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast.

COVID-19 Update:

A whole lot of people are suddenly working from home in the digital marketing industry, and a good number also find themselves looking for work. Aleyda Solis has a great new site that can help both types of people, so be sure to check out remoters.net. Also, Michael King, Founder of iPullRank, highlighted that there is a special spreadsheet digital freelancers can add their name to if they’re looking for work, so check that out at Available Digital Freelancers. And please don’t spam that list because nobody needs that right now. Finally, SEO professional Lily Ray has started a special project to help during the pandemic. Businesses who need help with their SEO and digital marketing can sign up and get some free services to help them stay in business, and the people who can provide some pro bono SEO and digital marketing services or training can sign up to help out. Check it out at SEO And Digital Marketing Support for Coronavirus.


Google Podcasts gets proper queue, auto-downloads, and bottom bar in a big redesign

From Manuel Vonau on Android Police we learn that Google Podcasts gets proper queue, auto downloads, and bottom Aaron Levy on EDGE of the Webbar in big redesign. Google Podcasts may be well-integrated with Assistant and Home and Nest speakers, but compared to many other players out there, it has always been rather lackluster: Among other things, people have been complaining about missing features such as queues and auto-downloads. It looks like Google took this criticism to heart, as it’s starting to roll out a redesigned version of Podcasts that adds these two along with bottom tabs and an improved home screen.

  • Erin Sparks: Thank God this is finally happening. What do you think, Aaron?
  • Aaron Levy: I actually use Spotify for all my podcasts because I was an early adopter there. I do have several smart speakers, though, including Amazon Echo, Google Home, and even a Microsoft Cortana. But it is interesting to see the variability in where a smart speaker will go to get the specific podcast you ask it to play. So it makes sense for Google to make its own product better because then it has all the data from it.
  • Erin Sparks: Well it’s about time Google starts catching up on this.


Coronavirus: Emarketer lowers global ad spend projections for 2020

According to Ginny Marvin on Search Engine Land, Coronavirus: Emarketer lowers global ad spend projections for 2020. Worldwide ad spending is still expected to grow compared to last year, says research firm eMarketer, but it has lowered its growth projections by nearly 3%. Worldwide media ad spend will increase by 7.0% to $691.7 billion in 2020 over the prior year, down from the earlier growth estimate of 7.4% to $712.02 billion.

  • Erin Sparks: If anything, it’s surprising that they are still projecting such huge growth.
  • Aaron Levy: Yes, this is impressive projected growth given the current crisis. But I do feel like in the SEO and digital marketing industry we’re going to bounce back to an even stronger position. It may not feel that way right now with everyone isolated and working remotely from home, but we’re all adapting and figuring out the systems for it, so as an industry we’re in a good position. It’s a crisis and it’s also an opportunity for many of us to revisit our systems and make sure they’re solid. The article is obviously forward-looking beyond the crisis and not just panicking in the current moment. 
  • Erin Sparks: Beyond the digital marketing industry, there’s a whole economic ecosystem being impacted by the crisis, like Amazon having to hold off on warehousing non-essential items. The digital ad spend has to be adjusted to meet these rapid changes.
  • Aaron Levy: Yes, and it’s interesting to see how different companies are handling this. Some are great at proactively shifting as needed, like not trying to sell items they’re not going to have on hand, so maybe shift efforts into email captures and things like that. This kind of crisis could force a lot of people to become better marketers because we have to play a longer game that looks beyond the current crisis. We have to think less in terms of short transactional relationships and build longer-term relationships, and that’s a good thing in marketing.


Google My Business Overreacts to COVID-19

On Review Fraud, this website reports Google My Business overreacts to COVID-19. On Friday, March 20th, 2020 Google removed the ability for users to post reviews on Google My Business listings. Not only was the ability to post a review disabled, but Google also disabled the ability for businesses to respond to reviews. Currently, if a user leaves a review, Google is confirming that the review was posted and the user can see the review in their account. Once the user logs out of Google, they won’t see the review. The business will not get the review and has no way of seeing it. It is unclear if the review will be published at a later date or if the review will just disappear into the ether.

  • Erin Sparks: So Google is freezing the system during the crisis, but it feels draconian.
  • Aaron Levy: This could just be a resource issue. There are probably bazillions of reviews coming in, many of which would require manual review. And you have to consider the kinds of reviews probably pouring in—people angry and upset that the business they tried to visit is closed or limited or otherwise not normal because of the pandemic. You can make a case it wouldn’t be fair for all those to be posted in a time of crisis when businesses are trying to or are required to help “flatten the curve” by being closed or only offering takeout and so on. These are complicated judgment calls.
  • Erin Sparks: That may make sense on the reviews side, but they actually completely turned off the ability for even asking questions. Even worse, Google took it upon itself to start marking businesses as temporarily closed, and isn’t getting it right in a lot of cases for the businesses that are still open! That’s just horrible for that business in a time of crisis.
  • Aaron Levy: I’m sure the system needs some adjustments. It’s the first time they’re doing anything like this, so hopefully, it will work better the next time around. But you have to understand about the Q&A is that all the kinds of questions that would be asked right now during the crisis will be useless content when the crisis is over, right? It would have to be undone somehow after the crisis. That’s what I mean by it’s a resource thing.

Connect with Aaron Levy and Tinuiti

Twitter: @bigalittlea (https://twitter.com/bigalittlea

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theaaronlevy 

Tinuiti Website: https://tinuiti.com

Tinuiti Twitter: @Tinuiti (https://twitter.com/tinuiti)

Tinuiti Facebook: @tinuiti1 (https://www.facebook.com/tinuiti1/)

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